Thoughts on a One Eyed Piglet, and the Difficulty of Making Your Own Coins
WARNING: This article contains a somewhat graphic description. Skip this article if you are sensitive or easily offended.
I am not kidding about this. Though my wife forced me to write this disclaimer, she does have a valid point. As usual.
This is excerpted from the July 19, 2015 issue of the Hartford Courant:
"NEW HAVEN -- On a farm here in 1642, a piglet with a deformed eye was born, stirring chatter among the townsfolk about whether a farmhand with one good eye fathered the animal.
The farmhand denied paternity at first, but changed his story after he was locked up and interrogated. Once found guilty of bestiality at trial, the farmhand and the sow were executed."
That account was taken from a new book written by Judge Jon C. Blue entitled, "The Case of the Piglet's Paternity: Trials from the New Haven Colony, 1639-1663."
Clearly, the colonists of New England were far from sophisticated in their understanding and handling of such matters. They lived in a fog of ignorance and superstition while scraping out a subsistence living from the dense forest land that had only recently been cleared of trees and untold numbers of rocks.
So it has always intrigued me that a mere 10 years after that poor farmhand was unfairly put to death, the first coins were struck up the road in the little town of Boston, Massachusetts.
Consider how sophisticated the process of minting coins is. You have to import or build the machinery, source the die steel, engrave the dies, melt the metal to a specified fineness, roll out the resulting ingots to the thinness of planchet stock, cut the blanks to precise weights and then strike the coins. To me it seems a minor miracle that it happened at all in such an early period of our history. Luckily for us some of those crudely struck coins from the 1600’s still exist today for us to collect.
The new Dime Book is Here! The New Dime Book is Here!
Distributing coin books is something outside of my normal business plan here at the Dave Wnuck Numismatics marketing conglomerate, but I am making an exception for this book. It will be ready for distribution in mid-August. It is the first update to this overlooked series in three decades.
Below please see the propaganda leaflet – er, I mean the promotional flyer – that describes this book. Email me if you want me to reserve a copy for you.
That was my takeaway from the article I read in the Wall Street Journal last week (the 7/29/2015 issue). The headline read, “Met Museum Sets New Mark For Attendance”. The article notes that the Metropolitan Museum in NYC – one of the premier museums on our planet – had record attendance in their most recent fiscal year.
In an age when people's eyes seem glued to their electronic devices, it is comforting to know that we still have the innate desire to see objects of beauty and historical interest. I'm no psychologist but I suspect there is something in the human condition that compels us to seek out, study, and enjoy such items.
On to the NewP's
As in my previous newsletters, these coins are the items I have gathered over the last few weeks. The plan is to upload all these coins to my website. In the meantime, readers of this newsletter will be the very first to lay eyes on these offerings. By popular demand, I've included photos of the coins where I have them.
The “Making the Grade” Featured Coin –
1809 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded AU50, CAC.
Overton-103, considered to be rarity-1. A ring of pastel blue and gold graces the periphery of this lustrous specimen. This is exactly what one hopes to see in an AU early date bust half. $1200.
1793 Wreath Cent. NGC graded VF-25.
Sheldon-8 die variety, considered to be rarity-3. A handsome, hard surfaced example with dark brown coloration. Lots of detail for the grade.$12,750
1851 Braided Hair Large Cent. NGC graded MS66 BN.
Booming luster and nothing to detract from the eye appeal. $1450.
1882 Indian Cent. NGC graded PF65RB CAC [fatty].
A gorgeous coin, with subtle pastel colors and housed in a 20 year old slab. $675.
1938-D Buffalo Nickel. PCGS graded MS66.
Lots of coin for the money. $75.
1836 Bust Dime. PCGS graded AU55, CAC.
JR-3, considered to be rarity-3. Light golden gray with plenty of luster. Quite pleasing and affordable for an early silver US coin. $785.
1883 Seated Dime. PCGS graded PR64.
A ring of blue and green slowly transitions into near white centers. $895.
1843 Seated Quarter. PCGS graded VG-8.
Normally a coin one wouldn’t get too excited about. However, this coin simply blows one away from a color perspective. Brilliant, vibrant rings of toning make it stand out in a crowd. $345.
1930 Standing Liberty Quarter. NGC graded MS65 Full Head, CAC [fatty].
Light golden toning over booming luster. $600.
1950-D Washington Quarter. PCGS graded MS67 CAC
A ring of golden toning graces the obverse, while the reverse remains brilliant. Finding high grade and toned Washington quarters is quite difficult because there were no mint sets issued that year. Thus, collectors putting together a toned set are in for a tough time on this date. Finding this specimen might make their job a bit easier. $635.
1803 Draped Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded VF35.
Large 3. Overton-103, considered to be rarity-3. Bold detail, light gray with deepening color near the rims. $1550.
1813 Bust Half Dollar. PCGS graded VF30.
Overton-103, as stated on the PCGS tag. Considered to be rarity-2. Light to medium gray; a pleasing example of this early date. $335.
1814 Bust Half Dollar. NGC graded MS61.
Overton-103, considered to be rarity-1. What a knockout of a coin! Absolutely booming luster show this wildly clashed and cracked die specimen off to the extreme. If you like your coins untoned, I suggest you consider this specimen. $2850.
1943 Walking Liberty half Dollar. PCGS graded MS66.
Bursting with wholesome goodness. $175.
1964 Kennedy Half Dollar. PCGS graded PR69.
Nearly perfect. $110.
1880-S Morgan Dollar. PCGS graded MS64+.
If you only want one, and you don’t want to spend big bucks on it, this coin would be a good choice. $95.
1923 Peace Dollar. PCGS graded MS63.
Accurately graded. Not too likely I will be having inexpensive coins like these in future price lists. $55.
1890-CC Morgan Dollar. PCGS graded MS64 DMPL, CAC.
This coin has a great look to it, just as one would expect. A better date Carson City dollar, PCGS graded, Deep Mirror Proof Like, not hazy or milky in the slightest, grade verified by CAC – the whole kit & caboodle. $3450.
1878-S Trade Dollar. ANACSS graded AU55.
I don’t normally list ANACS coins, but this came in as a part of a type set, and the coin is quite attractive. Peripheral russet and blue fades into near white centers. $375.
1912 Indian Half Eagle. PCGS graded MS64+ CAC.
Just a knockout coin for the grade. This coin came from a crack out dealer who tried several times to submit it for an MS65. He offered it to me for considerably less than he paid for it. $3675.
1911 $10 Indian. NGC graded MS64 CAC.
A delightful, lustrous and pristine example, on the verge of a higher grade. $2250.
1936 Delaware Commemorative Half Dollar. NGC graded MS66 CAC [fatty].
Beautiful, original and mark free. In the early days of slabbing (not long before the time this coin was slabbed) the Delaware commemorative was elusive to unknown in top grades. I remember one of my early mentors seeking a mark free, original coin and couldn't find one at any price. I’m guessing he would have approved of this coin. $650.
1936 York Commemorative Half Dollar. NGC graded NGC MS66 CAC [fatty].
A nice match to the Delaware above, at least in terms of near-perfection. $295.
Exonumia, Esoterica, Etcetera
1783 Washington & Independence Colonial Coin. Electrotype. Almost Uncirculated [uncertified].
This coin came out of a NCS holder that indicated it was genuine. I can see why – it is an extremely deceptive copy. Old NCS tag included upon request. $150.
1794 White Metal Conder token. PCGS graded AU55.
Lancashire-Lancaster. D&H-3, struck in white meal. Flashy proof-like surfaces in the protected areas. Quite a pretty token, and a nice addition to a Conder token collection, as virtually all of the tokens are struck in copper. $595.
1795 Anti-Slavery Halfpenny Token. NGC graded MS64 Brown.
Great Britain. Middlesex-Spence's, D&H 1037a. Frosty golden brown with a rich mix of rose and mint orange iridescence. Kneeling slave in shackles and chains, AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER around. A similar obverse was used in the Hard Times series for an extremely rare variety.
In an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society a few years back, an exhibit demonstrated that New York City had a long history as a capital of slavery. In 1790, one in five white households in the city owned a slave. Though there was a growing free black population, it was not until July 4, 1827 that the state of New York formally abolished slavery. $1650.
1796 Hanging Man – End of Pain Halfpenny Token. PCGS graded MS64.
Middlesex-Spence's, D&H-864. Light brown with tinges of red. A massive cud on the all-important Hanging Man side makes for a truly spectacular token. The reverse features two boys at a turnstile. A breathtaking example of this iconic token; the only one PCGS has graded in any grade, and the very first I have handled. $2950.
Circa 1880's $20 Gold Size Spielmark Token. Uncirculated [uncertified].
A neat “counter” or gaming token. Most are worn to some degree. This one is beautiful and has some subtle violet toning to boot. $95.
A Pair of 1885 Ulysses S Grant Medals - White Metal. In presentation Case. Choice Proof [uncertified].
A pair of beautiful and scarce medals struck in white metal. The diameter of each medal is quite large (63 mm); they were engraved with by George Morgan at the US Mint.
The obverse features Grant's bust facing right splitting the legends "IN MEMORIAM" and "U.S. GRANT" with "1822-1885" below. The obverse outer legend reads "SOLDIER PRESIDENT CITIZEN / THOUGH TO EARTH NO MORE IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER".
The reverse features Grant sitting atop his horse with flag bearer to left and cannon to right. The reverse legend reads "FORT DONELSON 1862 – VICKSBURG 1863 – RICHMOND 1865 – PRESIDENT 1869-1877". The case and the condition of these medals make for something really special. I have seen several over the years that were damaged or holed at the top for suspension from a ribbon. This is the first I have seen of the presentation case; I am not sure how many of these two piece presentation sets still exist. Deeply cameoed, with choice and mirrored surfaces. $795.
1872 Sweden White Metal Medal. Choice Prooflike Uncirculated [uncertified].
34 mm diameter, engraved by Ahiborn Carlmichael Bellman. The medal featuring what appears to me to be a mandolin or an early version of a guitar.
So cool looking that no one would fault you if you placed this token on your desk and had an overwhelming urge to crank up the song, “C'mon and Take a Free Ride,” by the Edgar Winter Group, for it's awesome electric mandolin licks. Comes with its original round cardboard box as well. $125.
1933 GENERAL MOTORS SILVER ANNIVERSARY Medal. Uncirculated [uncertified].
Marqusee 53. 76mm. Silver plated Bronze. The engraver of this well known and popular large medal was Norman Bel Geddes. This is an unusual specimen in that it has toned in a most pleasing and colorful manner. The other specimens I have seen over the years have been either untoned or toned in a dull light gray.
The obverse presents a classic art deco design with a large wing projecting from behind the stylized front end of a car. The obverse legend reads; TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF MOTOR TRANSPORTATION. There is a stylized piston design on the reverse. This is probably the most popular of all art deco medals, with crossover appeal to automotive collectors.
The website of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art comments on this medal as follows
“This medallion, commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of General Motors, is an example of the Streamlined style that dominated architecture and design in America from the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s. With its abstracted, teardrop-shaped vehicle form depicted in motion, with the tall wing like element rising from its center, the overall effect is one of speed and movement— characteristic of the Streamlined style and appropriate to the automobile and airplane age. Norman Bel Geddes was trained as a theatrical set designer but best known for another project for General Motors, the Futurama exhibition at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. This exhibit, through which visitors were propelled on a giant conveyor belt, depicted a utopian vision of America in the near future, a world dependent on the speed and efficiency of the automobile for work and recreation.”
Hmm … they predicted a future where people are utterly dependent on their cars. Looks like they nailed it! $975.
(2004) Libertas Americana Medal, Paris Mint Silver 40mm Restrike. NGC graded PR69 Ultra Cameo.
The last silver “original” Libertas Americana medal that I sold went for in the neighborhood of $200,000 a few years back. This restrike is cheaper. Like the originals, this was struck in the Paris mint. It comes with the original case of issue and with a certificate from that mint stating that this medal was #1393 of 15,000 struck. $595.
$1000 Federal Reserve Note. PMG graded Choice Very Fine-35.
Friedberg #2212-G, Chicago. The best of a small group of $1000 and $500 bills that just came over the transom. $2100.
$1000 Federal Reserve Note. PMG graded Very Fine-30.
Friedberg #2212-G, Chicago. These large denomination bills are super-cool. They appeal to non-collectors as well. Over the years I have seen some of these being awarded as incentives to high performing salespeople; sure beats a watch and a plaque. $1900.
$500 Federal Reserve Note. PMG graded Apparent Almost Uncirculated-50 net.
Friedberg #2201-Adgs Dark Green, Boston. The tears are tiny and pretty much invisible in the PMG holder. $985.
$500 Federal Reserve Note. PMG graded Apparent Very Fine 25 net.
Friedberg #2201-Adgs Dark Green, Boston. There is a tear and some adhesive on the reverse. Still very presentable; any cheaper would resemble Swiss cheese. Aw darn – now I'm getting hungry! $750.
Contact info to reserve coins:
Website - www.DaveWcoins.com
My email address – email@example.com
Phone - (203) 231-1213